Technology

Elon Musk’s SpaceX sent Ukraine the Starlink satellite. Does the country need them?

After the Russian invasion, many feared Ukraine’s internet access would be cut off, through cyberattacks or destruction of internet infrastructure – or both. While there have been some temporary crashes and attacks on government websites, for the most part, there have been no Internet crashes. Even so, after the deputy prime minister of Ukraine, Mykhailo Fedorov, tweeted an attraction to Elon Musk, the billionaire sent help.

Earlier this week, a truckload of Starlink satellite dishes, also known as Dishys, appeared in Ukraine. Elon Musk also turned on Starlink’s space internet service in the water, open a ring belong to positive title about his world-saving generosity. It’s not clear whether Ukraine needs an alternative Internet service, but gaining public support for the world’s richest man is inevitable.

Musk isn’t the only influential and powerful tech mogul that Fedorov, who is also Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation, has called for help during the invasion. In the past few days, he has been tweeting sometimes pleas for affection come Apple and Tim Cook block access to the App Store in Russia; arrive Google and CEO Sundar Pichai and YouTube and CEO Susan Wojcicki to improve the state media of Russia; arrive Cloudflare and CEO Matthew Princeblock Russian access to their services; and to Meta and Mark Zuckerberg to block access to Facebook and Instagram in Russia. Fedorov also tweeted about payment processors and crypto exchanges to cut off Russia, and call for “Network experts” join the “IT army”.

It’s part of a strategy that seems to work. Russia is known for using the internet to promote its propaganda through coordinated social media campaigns. But Ukraine has come up with its own social media tactics, with its leaders making Ukraine’s case through personal, often heartfelt appeals across various channels. Like Fedorov said in a tweet last week: Win the hearts of the world while cutting Russians off from technology that has become so essential to many aspects of their daily lives.

Fedorov didn’t get everything he asked for from the other companies, but they did offer some help. Apple stop selling products in Russia, cut Apple Pay domestically, and remove Russian state-controlled news apps from App Stores outside of Russia. YouTube is deplatforming Russian state-controlled media in Europe, while Google and YouTube have stop monetize advertising on Russian state-controlled channels and websites. Meta is Restrict access for Russian state-controlled media on Facebook and Instagram in the European Union and downgraded posts with links to Russian state media globally.

With Musk, however, Fedorov got exactly what he asked for, from a CEO who loves the spotlight and has a habit of plunging into public affairs with his own novel, the solutions. Musk-branded technology. Musk has also demonstrated a willingness to get involved in the Russia-Ukraine conflict in other ways: tweeted SpaceX logo at a Russian official threatened that the International Space Station would fall out of the sky if Russia were cut off from it.

While Musk often collects compliments for his recommendations, it’s worth mentioning that these efforts aren’t always successful in practice. In 2018, a random Twitter user ask him to save a group of teenagers trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand. Musk assembled a team of engineers to build escape out of the SpaceX rocket division. It ended up not being used in the rescue, and unfortunately the effort is commendable finished with Musk’s tweet that one of the divers who saved the children was a “pedo guy”. Musk won next defamation lawsuit.

Then, in March 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic hit the US and hospitals ran out of ventilators, Musk tweeted that Tesla would “make ventilators” at its Buffalo, New York, plant. It did not do this. Tesla built a ventilator prototype aside from Tesla parts, which never went into production, but the whole thing made for an amusing publicity video. Musk’s promise to donate hundreds of ventilators to hospitals ends up bearing the Tesla brand BiPAP and CPAP Máy Machines, which is commonly used to treat sleep apnea. (Tesla doesn’t actually make machines, but someone slapped Tesla Stickers on boxes.) While at least some of those machines are useful, they are not ventilators.

Musk’s efforts have been more successful on other occasions. He tweeted In 2018, he will fix the water in any home in Flint that has lead water. While that doesn’t seem to be the case, the Elon Musk Foundation has donated lead-filtered fountains to several schools in Flint. last month. Musk too tweeted earlier this year he wanted to send Starlink terminals to Tonga after a volcanic eruption cut out cable provides the island’s internet. In fact, Starlink provided the island with 50 free dishes and services until its access is restored. The gift helped the people of Tonga and showcased Starlink at its best: in remote locations without access to wired services or cellular networks.

As for Starlink in Ukraine, it appears to be working, as Musk promised. A man named Oleg Kutkov, lives in Kyiv, tweeted that his Dishy worked. Kutkov told Recode that he did not receive the food through Musk’s donation; he happened to buy it a few months ago through eBay. Then he couldn’t connect it to the internet, and he didn’t expect to be able to. Kutkov is an engineer and said he received the dish to see how it worked, not to actually make it. Then Russia invaded his country.

“I saw Elon’s tweet and decided to try to connect with my Dishy,” he said. With a little help from SpaceX, he was able to move to his current location the US-based account that Dishy originally signed up for.

“I am happy to test it and share my results,” said Kutkov. “A lot of people are waiting for this.”

While Ukraine seems pleased with Musk’s benevolence, it may not be necessary. There have been reports about Constantly disconnecting from the internet in the country, but, as a Guardian shown, it is not easy for an army of invaders to cut off a country from the internet, which is provided by a number of companies through a number of means, including fiber optic cable, cellular networks and internet services other satellites. This is not Tonga, where one vulnerable cable provides internet to an entire country. And it’s probably even harder to cut off the Internet in a country like Ukraine, which for years has faced cyberattacks from Russia. By necessity, it had to make its internet services The more resistant to attacks the better.

Having Starlink is a good thing, though, even if it’s as exaggerated as everything else Musk has. Internet access was an integral part of this invasion and a way for Ukrainians to stay connected with each other and the outside world. Ukrainians have download communication and connectivity apps (offline and online) that have grown in number over the past few days, including Signal, Telegram, Zello and, yes, Starlink. And the Ukrainian government, as evidenced by Fedorov’s tweets, has used the internet to make its case to the rest of the world and combat pro-Russian disinformation from propaganda organizations. the country’s notorious internet transmission. Ukraine has the support and sympathy of many people around the world, while Russia does not buried under economic sanctions and many companies are pulling their services and products out of the country every day.

We don’t know how many treats Musk sent, nor do we know who will get them or how they will be used. (Neither SpaceX nor Ukraine’s Digital Converter responded to requests for comment.)

One small note: Musk’s gift may have doubled as a way to get rid of old stock. The boxes appear to contain older Dishy models, which were used during Starlink’s year-long beta testing. A few months ago, Starlink redesigned Dishy; now it’s smaller, lighter and rectangular. It is also possible that the older Forks that SpaceX has to offer, as the company has Fight to produce dishes made by worldwide chip shortage

In any case, if the Donation Plates work, that’s all that matters to the people in Ukraine who may need them. Kutkov said he had to be evacuated to bomb shelters several times a day and the rockets struck within six miles of his home. He said that the situation was very dangerous and exhausting. But his internet and mobile services are still around to this day.

“The situation is changing very quickly. I understand that Kyiv’s internet connection may be disrupted,” he said. “I will use this Dishy for emergencies.

This story was first published in the Recode newsletter. Sign up here so you don’t miss the next one!

https://www.vox.com/recode/22958373/ukraine-russia-starlink-spacex-elon-musk Elon Musk’s SpaceX sent Ukraine the Starlink satellite. Does the country need them?

Fry Electronics Team

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